• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Sports

Alcaraz survives five-set thriller; Sinner, Gauff cruise to next round

Alcaraz won 5-7, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2, serving 16 aces and hitting 55 winners in a match that lasted nearly four hours.

Alcaraz, aiming to become the sixth man to win the French Open and Wimbledon titles back-to-back, has now reached the last 16 of a Slam for the tenth time. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz defeated Frances Tiafoe in five sets to reach the Wimbledon last 16 on Friday, while Jannik Sinner and Coco Gauff advanced with ease.

Alcaraz won 5-7, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2, serving 16 aces and hitting 55 winners in a match that lasted nearly four hours.

“Always a big challenge playing against Frances,” said Alcaraz. “He is a really talented player, really tough to face.”

Alcaraz, aiming to become the sixth man to win the French Open and Wimbledon titles back-to-back, has now reached the last 16 of a Slam for the tenth time. He and Tiafoe shared a warm embrace at the net.

“Just ultimate respect. Him just saying, ‘It’s good to see you play like that.’ Me just saying, ‘I can’t stand you,'” joked Tiafoe.

World number three Alcaraz will next play either Ugo Humbert or Brandon Nakashima. That match was among four men’s third-round clashes delayed by heavy rain in London.

World number one Sinner defeated Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 in just 96 minutes. Sinner, the 2023 Australian Open champion, will next face either Denis Shapovalov or Ben Shelton. This win marked Sinner’s 41st of the season, surpassing Casper Ruud’s 40 wins.

Women’s world number two Gauff ended the run of British qualifier Sonay Kartal, winning 6-4, 6-0, and allowing her opponent just eight points in the second set.

“This is my first time playing a British player here, so I was a little nervous because I knew you’d be for her, which is understandable,” said Gauff. “Thankfully you guys were pretty nice to me, so that helped.”

Gauff will face American compatriot Emma Navarro for a place in the quarter-finals.

Tommy Paul, the US men’s 12th seed, reached the fourth round for the second time with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over Alexander Bublik. Paul, who won the Queen’s Club title just before Wimbledon, said, “I’m having fun on the grass.”

Grigor Dimitrov, a semi-finalist ten years ago, defeated 37-year-old Gael Monfils in straight sets.

Two-time quarter-finalist Madison Keys, the 12th seed, reached the second week for the fifth time with a straight-sets win over Marta Kostyuk. Keys will face French Open runner-up Jasmine Paolini, who had never won a match at Wimbledon before this year. Paolini defeated former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in straight sets.

Lulu Sun became the first woman from New Zealand since 1959 to reach the last 16, winning 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (8/6) over China’s Zhu Lin. Sun, who came through qualifying, hopes her win will be headline news in her hometown of Te Anau.

“Practically more sheep and deer than people,” joked Sun. She will next face Emma Raducanu, who reached the last 16 of a major for the first time since her 2021 US Open win. Raducanu defeated ninth-ranked Maria Sakkari 6-2, 6-3 for her second win over a top-10 player.

“Today was really up there with the most fun I’ve had on a tennis court,” said Raducanu.

Donna Vekic needed nine match points to defeat Dayana Yastremska 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (3/7), 6-1 in a match lasting just under three hours. Vekic will next face Spain’s Paula Badosa.

Bhambri-Olivetti pair ousted from Wimbledon

India’s Yuki Bhambri and his French partner Albano Olivetti exited Wimbledon in the second round, losing to Germany’s Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz in three sets. The pair lost 6-4, 4-6, 3-6 to the eighth-seeded Germans in two hours and five minutes on Friday. Bhambri and Olivetti had defeated Alexander Bublik and Alexander Shevchenko in the opening round.

Veteran Rohan Bopanna and his Australian partner Matthew Ebden, the reigning Australian Open champions, will play Germany’s Hendrik Jebens and Constantin Frantzen in the second round on Saturday. Bopanna is the only Indian left in the tournament after Sumit Nagal and N. Sriram bowed out earlier this week.

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